Volunteer of the Month December 2014 – Charles Craig

Volunteer of the Month December 2014 – Charles Craig

(Craig pictured on the right)

A 23-year career as a police officer in St. Louis County prepared Charles Craig to help train officers in Columbia. For the past 12 years, Craig has shared his extensive knowledge of firearms and intensive driving by running several programs for officers at the University of Missouri.  

“Mr. Craig has helped supplement the training staff by providing outstanding firearms and emergency driving training,” said Lt. Geoff Jones, Columbia Police Department. “His experience in law enforcement, coupled with his experience teaching in an academy setting, has given him credibility as a department instructor. We are thankful to have him”.

Craig also worked for six years with the National Animal Control Association, providing training across the country, and has dedicated his time with the Missouri Sheriff’s Academy, where he helped provide firearms and intensive driving training.

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit www.como.gov.

Written by volunteer Amanda Atkinson

Volunteer of the Month November 2014 – Wade Sanders

Volunteer of the Month November 2014 – Wade Sanders

Wade Sanders, who has 14 years of previous experience in small city government, understands all too well how a small group of people can make a big difference in the cleanliness of any community.  The City of Columbia is lucky to have Wade as a Team Leader for our Columbia Crawdads Stream Team.  The Columbia Crawdads Steam Team is a city-wide monthly stream cleanup event that meets every 2nd Saturday of the month, where volunteers work together to clean area streams.  Everyone can participate!

Wade came to the city with many hands-on experiences, which resulted in healthier environments, including 20 years of volunteer work for Odessa’s community recycling program and various litter pick up projects.   “Several years ago I learned first-hand that 5 or 6 determined volunteers can clean up trash over large areas if they simply get to work and keep on task,” he says of his volunteer work.

Wade started volunteering for the city due to some encouragement he received from a friend at church.  He is thankful to be home in Columbia and is happy to volunteer.  In Wade’s opinion, working together as volunteers is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.   “I learned any community can never have enough volunteers and volunteering has been good for me.”

To Learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit us on the City’s website at www.como.gov.

Volunteer of the Month Article October 2014 –Matt Dube

Volunteer of the Month Article October 2014 –Matt Dube

Matt Dube, who has taught American literature and creative writing at William Woods for the past 8 years, is the volunteer leader of Reflections Poetry Society, a forum for adults and teens to share their writing with others and get feedback.

Reflections Poetry Society meets the 1stand 3rd Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7pm at the Armory. Anyone can attend and share their poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.

Matt, who usually writes short stories but is now working on a mystery novel, was looking for a volunteer opportunity. He began thinking about what he enjoys doing—talking about writing, and Reflections Poetry Society was the perfect fit when it needed new leadership four years ago. He was also a regular participant in the group.

“I get to interact about something I am passionate about,” he says of his volunteer work. “It’s a great way to use my skills and interests in a way that is not job related.” One reason he sees for volunteering, besides the satisfaction of helping others, is that “it is nice to think about doing things you love for reasons other than a paycheck.”

Leading the workshops and assisting others with their writing also multiplies Matt’s creative and writing skills. “It encourages me to write for a different audience, share my work, and finish projects.”

            To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, call Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit us online at www.como.gov.

Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson.

Volunteer of the Month Article September 2014 – The Powers Family

Volunteer of the Month Article September 2014 – The Powers Family

Ten years ago, the Powers family volunteered at a Special Olympics Sports event. The parents and three kids enjoyed working with the athletes so much that they are still encouraging, leading, and befriending the athletes.

Columbia’s Parks and Rec Special Olympic Sports program has 278 active participants who participat in 9 sports throughout the year. These sports are an avenue for personal, emotional, and physical growth.

Tim, the dad, is Head Coach for both Bowling and Gold Individual Skills, a chaperone, and fills in for multiple sports and different tasks. “He works hard to create an environment to maximize the athletes’ success,” Judy Cook from Parks and Rec Special Olympic Sports says.

            Marigrace, the mom, is an assistant coach for Bocce and a lane volunteer for Bowling. She also supervises the monthly Adaptive Dances with Tim.

            Joe, a junior at Father Tolton, is an assistant coach for Bocce, a lane volunteer for Bowling, and the DJ at Adaptive Dances. 

Abbie, a junior at Mizzou, is a Bowling lane volunteer.

            Anna, a recent graduate from Notre Dame, has volunteered with Basketball and Track and Field.

            Joe sums up why they volunteer when he says, “Find something you enjoy and it keeps you coming back. If you enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like volunteering.” Anna adds, “As a volunteer you learn things and serve others, but both of you get something from the experience.”

Volunteer of the Month August 2014 – Shelby Catalano

Volunteer of the Month August 2014 – Shelby Catalano

Shelby Catalano is an ambitious senior at Mizzou who is double majoring in Classics and Political Science, with a Minor in History. She first started doing volunteer work that was organized by the college. Then she branched out to volunteer with the City of Columbia. “I decided I would be in Columbia for a few years,” she explains.

     Over the past year she has been volunteering at many of the special events the City hosts, such as Family Fun Fest, Symphony in the Park, and Flat Branch Movie Night. Shelby likes volunteering for the artsy stuff because it brings out her creative side. She also became a Park Patrol volunteer because she enjoys hiking the back trails of Bear Creek Trail and Stephens Lake Park once or twice a week.

     Volunteering provides a good break from school. “The events I usually volunteer at have small children who are running around with huge smiles, something I don’t usually see on a daily basis,” Shelby says, “and I enjoy being useful.”  Another way she has helped children is by raising about $5,000 for Children’s Miracle Network while employed with Wal-Mart.

     Part of the reason Shelby volunteers is because it makes her and the community better.  “The people who volunteer get enjoyment out of volunteering, and it helps the community be the best it can be.”

     To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit www.como.gov.

Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson

When Caryn Fenton, business manager and landscape and grounds keeper for Columbia Pet Hospital, began admiring the Adopt-a-Spots around Columbia, she decided she wanted to participate in the program. Eleven years later, Caryn is still taking care of the Forum spots, often with help from another employee from Columbia Pet Hospital. Currently it is Austin White, Practice Manager for the clinic. “He always does it with a big smile and no complaints,” Caryn says. The care and many hours that Caryn volunteers to maintain the two spots are noticed. “Hundreds of people drive or walk down Forum Boulevard every day,” Leigh Britt, Neighborhood Services Manager says. “The care Caryn and the Columbia Pet Hospital volunteers give to their Adopt-a-Spots brightens the day for those who pas by.” Caryn enjoys the challenge. “It has been really nice doing something I enjoy so much and be able to share it with the community.” To get involved with the Adopt-A-Spot Beautification Program or find other ways to volunteer, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or find us at www.GoColumbiaMo.com. Written by Theresa Nelson, Volunteer

Volunteer of the Month July 2014 – Caryn Fenton

When Caryn Fenton, business manager and landscape and grounds keeper for Columbia Pet Hospital, began admiring the Adopt-a-Spots around Columbia, she decided she wanted to participate in the program.

    Eleven years later, Caryn is still taking care of the Forum spots, often with help from another employee from Columbia Pet Hospital. Currently it is Austin White, Practice Manager for the clinic. “He always does it with a big smile and no complaints,” Caryn says.

     The care and many hours that Caryn volunteers to maintain the two spots are noticed. “Hundreds of people drive or walk down Forum Boulevard every day,” Leigh Britt, Neighborhood Services Manager says. “The care Caryn and the Columbia Pet Hospital volunteers give to their Adopt-a-Spots brightens the day for those who pas by.”

     Caryn enjoys the challenge. “It has been really nice doing something I enjoy so much and be able to share it with the community.” 

            To get involved with the Adopt-A-Spot Beautification Program or find other ways to volunteer, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or find us at www.como.gov.

Written by Theresa Nelson, Volunteer

Volunteer of the Month June 2014 – Chuck Bondra

Volunteer of the Month June 2014 – Chuck Bondra

Chuck Bondra, who worked for the City Planning Department for 31 years, is now retired and volunteers for the City of Columbia at the Columbia Public Works Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Facility. HHW provides people with a local facility where they can drop off and have properly disposed their hazardous waste products, such as pharmaceuticals, acids, mothballs, paint strippers, cell phones, kerosene, and brake fluid — basically anything flammable, explosive, corrosive, toxic, or poisonous.

     For the past two years, Chuck has been volunteering at HHW assisting with traffic flow, answering questions, and helping train and supervise new volunteers. “I enjoy meeting and helping the people who come to the collection facility,” Chuck says.

     After retirement Chuck was looking for volunteer opportunities at the city website and thought volunteering for the HHW looked interesting. He had also used the facility over the years. “Most days I run into people dropping off stuff who I know,” he says, “and the people who run the program are nice to work with.”

     Helping others is something Chuck enjoys, both in Florida and Missouri. He fixes bikes for needy people in both states, volunteers at the library and is a caseworker for St. Vincent DePaul Society in Florida.

     Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility is open 8-12pm on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays April through November. To learn more about volunteering with the City, call 874-7499 or email volunteer@como.gov.

Volunteer of the Month May 2014 – Calvin Irwin – Armory Science Klub (ASK)

Volunteer of the Month May 2014 – Calvin Irwin – Armory Science Klub (ASK)

Encouraging questions and leading hand on experiments is how Columbia City volunteer Calvin Irwin teaches science to his 6-10 year old students at the Armory Science Klub (ASK). ASK meets at the Armory and is part of the Community Recreation Program. Thursdays from 6-7 pm you can find students studying the world around them by launching rockets, exploding volcanoes, or making fruit batteries. Other recent class topics have been surface tension, viscosity, oil production, ecology, and phase changes.

     Calvin, who wants to be a teacher one day, is a Biomedical Engineer at Mizzou. He graduates this year and will start his masters. Last year he was an assistant with ASK. This year he plans and leads the program with the help of three volunteer assistants: Rachel Stuck, Bojan Nedic, and Kaitlyn Bumberry.

     A Residential Assistant at Mizzou, Calvin serves as president of both the Institute for Biological Engineers and Engineering World Health. He says the best part of the week is volunteering at ASK. “You might think it would cause more stress, but it is a stress reliever,” Calvin says. “I love the humor of the kids. They also give off so much energy.”

     Calvin reminds, “We often focus on ourselves and forget that we are useful to people in the community. We have a lot of experience to offer.”

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or volunteer@como.gov.

Volunteers of the Month April 2014 – Minority Men’s Network

Volunteers of the Month April 2014 – Minority Men’s Network

Rain or shine, members of Minority Men’s Network have regularly participated in Cleanup Columbia. Cleaning trash along Columbia’s central city streets is just one way they demonstrate their commitment to improving their community through volunteer work.

     “We appreciate their constant dedication and enthusiasm for this event,” Leigh Britt, Neighborhood Services Manager for the City of Columbia says. “It is special to have volunteer groups come back year after year like this group has.”

     The over 120 members of Minority Men’s Network volunteers in a variety of projects: the Reading Program with the Nora Stewart Early Learning Center, the Youth Empowerment Zone, Columbia Cradle-to-Career Educational Initiative, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Their mission is “to utilize the power of committed men to improve the lives of ethnic minorities through leadership and service.”

     Steve Calloway, president of Minority Men’s Network says that “volunteer work is about service, being role models, and giving voice to the minority perspective in whatever venue we find ourselves.”

     The Minority Men’s Network has members involved in a variety of City affairs and who serve on City boards and commissions. They value education and encourage youth to be successful in school and college. “Just as important,” Steve says, “is letting our youth and the larger community see successful and respected Black Men out in front and visible in all aspects of our community.”

Volunteer of the month March 2014 – Robert and AnaLee Shatlain (Father and Daughter CERT volunteers)

Volunteer of the month March 2014 – Robert and AnaLee Shatlain

Not long after the Shatlain family moved from Texas to Columbia, Robert, a former Army Sergeant, voluntary firefighter, and Paramedic, started volunteering for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). He’d return from training and his youngest daughter, 17 year old AnaLee eagerly questioned him about what he was learning. “It sounded so exciting,” AnaLee explains. “I started by sitting in on a couple of classes, decided to join, and am now a full-fledged CERT member.”

     As the youngest CERT member in Columbia, AnaLee is also involved with Columbia fire department’s Explorer program. She looks forward to her 18th birthday when she can join the Elk’s club, where her dad serves as the Public Education Chair, and the Red Cross, where her dad volunteers on the Disaster Team.

     Helping others is big in the Shatlain household. In the past year, Robert, who oversees all the equipment as the Logistics Officer, has volunteered over 200 hours with CERT. AnaLee joined CERT in July 2013 and has volunteered over 90 hours. Both father and daughter won the Rookie of the Year Award CERT 2013.

    “I like preparing for disasters so that when they happen we can quickly help people,” Robert says.

     “It’s great to have my dad in CERT because it has bonded us in a different way,” AnaLee says. “I know he always has my back, and I have his.”

            To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or volunteer@como.gov.

Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson

Volunteer of the Month for February 2014 – Loyal Carpenter

Volunteer of the Month for February 2014 – Loyal Carpenter

Volunteering can be about finding a need and then working to meet that need. This is what Loyal Carpenter, a Boy Scout and senior at Hickman High School did. After learning about a community garden’s need for a new compost bin, Loyal began solving the problem one step at a time as part of his Eagle Scout Project.

The end result was a sturdy 9’ x 3’ compost bin with 3 compartments that allows community gardeners at Worley and West Blvd. to stir the compost frequently and to easily move it to the next stage. “This bin will serve as an educational tool for our gardeners,” Health Educator Maureen Coy points out, “by teaching them about composting.”

Loyal managed and supervised every aspect of the compost bin: raising money for the building materials, finding plans online through the MU Extension, communicating with the Columbia Community Garden Coalition and his Eagle Scout council, building the bin, and supervising fellow troop 708 scouts.

Loyal says he learned about communicating with different layers of people and how to train and lead the scouts who assisted him.
What he enjoyed most about the project was, “The construction part and working with my hands—especially when it benefits others. Everyone was so excited about the bin and that I was building it,” Loyal explained. “My greatest satisfaction was seeing them excited about the bin.”   

Learn more about volunteering with the City by visiting our website: www.como.gov or calling Volunteer Programs at 874-7499.

Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson

Volunteer of the Month for January 2014 – Chris Ingersoll

When Chris Ingersoll, a Fish Biologist for US Geological Survey, began biking year round to work for fitness benefits, he had no idea that over the next 23 years he would ride over 65K miles. Currently his commute is 20 miles round trip, with about 16 of those miles on trails and back roads.

     When Chris heard from a friend about Park Patrol, it made sense for him to volunteer as he’s on the trial 4-5 times a week. Since 2006, Chris has logged over 800 hours of service as a Park Patrol Volunteer. Chris says he tries to make eye contact and say hello to those on the trail because “he wants to make the trail a friendly place.”

     Park Patrollers create a presence on the trail and contact City staff about maintenance issues so trails remain safe, clean, and in good repair. Leigh Britt, Neighborhood Services Manager, says of Chris, “We appreciate his consistency in serving as an extra set of eyes on the trail and staying in regular communication with City staff.”

     Chris appreciates that Columbia is so bike friendly. Over the years he has seen the City open new trails and add more bike lanes. “It’s heartening,” he says, “to see the range of people on the trails.”  He volunteers because he feels “it makes a difference in the safety of the trails.”

    Learn more about volunteering with the City by visiting our website: www.como.gov or calling Volunteer Programs at 874-7499.